The Palaeolithic Age
Way back before civilization took place, there was a continuous struggle for the human race to find its existence for living. It took 13.8 billion years of cosmic history for the first human beings to arise. Sapiens were thought to have evolved approximately 200,000 years ago in East Africa. Archaeologists have given the name “Palaeolithic age,” or Old Stone Age, to this long span of time, with “Palaeo” meaning “old” and “lithos” meaning “stone.” The Palaeolithic period extends from 2 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago.
The Palaeolithic age is divided into Upper, middle, and lower Palaeolithic ages.
The Lower Palaeolithic Age
The Lower Palaeolithic age covers the greater part of the ice age and is also known as the Early Old Stone Age. It is thought to have begun in Africa around two million years ago, but in India it is not older than 600,000 years. This date is given to the site at Bori in Maharashtra, which is considered to be the earliest Lower Palaeolithic site. Chopper, chopping tools, hand-axes, and cleavers were used during this time, which were made from the core part of a stone and were generally blunt at the end.
This age consists of two principal tool-making or cultural traditions: the Soanian tradition and the Acheulian tradition. The people of the Lower Stone Age were mainly food gatherers, hunting in small groups for fish and birds.
The Middle Palaeolithic Age
Over time, there were some changes in the making of tools, leading to the Middle Palaeolithic period, during which flake tools were made. These included blades, scrapers, and points, which were lighter and more precise. There were also some changes in the raw materials used for the tools. Fine-grained siliceous rocks, such as chert and jasper, were used, while the use of quartzite, quartz, and basalt continued from the Lower Palaeolithic period.
The Upper Palaeolithic Age
The Upper Palaeolithic age saw the discovery of some important artefacts for human civilization, including ostrich eggshells at over 40 sites in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. This shows that ostriches, a bird adapted to arid climates, were widely distributed in western India during the later part of the Upper Palaeolithic. The climate, weather, and environment were very different from those of the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic ages. We can see the development of cold and arid climates in high altitudes, the formation of deserts, and other climate-related discoveries in the Upper Palaeolithic age.
The tools used during this time were more standardized and technically advanced compared to those of the previous Palaeolithic ages.
Palaeolithic Sites in India
Some of the important Palaeolithic sites in India include the Lidder river in Pahalgam, Kashmir; the Sohan valley in Punjab; the banks of the River Beas, Banganga, and Sirsa in Haryana; Chittorgarh and Kota in Rajasthan; the River Wagoon and Kadamali basins in Rajasthan; the Sabaramati and Mahi basins in Rajasthan and Gujarat; the basins of the rivers Tapti, Godavari, Bhima, and Krishna; Koregaon, Chandoli, and Shikarpur in Maharashtra; the River Raro in Jharkhand; the River Suvarnrekha in Orissa; the Ghatprabha River Basin in Karnataka; Belan Valley in Allahabad; Sinsgi Talav in Didwana, Nagaur, Rajasthan; Hunsgi, Gulbarga in Karnataka & Attirampakkam in Tamil Nadu.
Nomadic Lifestyle of Palaeolithic People
Palaeolithic people were fully nomadic, moving from place to place in search of food. They hunted animals, caught fish, and gathered seeds for their livelihoods. Men were mainly hunters, while women were gatherers. There were likely several reasons for their nomadic lifestyle. As hunters, they had to move from place to place in search of animals. They were also dependent on seasonal foods and fruits, and so they had to move to different places in search of food that was available during certain seasons. If they had stayed in one place for too long, they would have consumed all the resources available there, so they had to move to other places in search of food.
Tracing the Roots of Human Civilization: The Importance of Palaeolithic Tools in India
Archaeologists have found evidence of the use of tools made of stone, wood, and bone during the time of the Palaeolithic people. These tools have been found in the valley of the River Son, or Sohan, in Punjab (now in Pakistan), as well as in Kashmir and the Thar Desert. Some of the important Palaeolithic sites in India include the Kurnool Caves, Hunsgi, and Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh, where caves and rock shelters have been found. People chose natural caves for shelter because they provided protection from rain, heat, and wind. These caves were located near the Narmada Valley, where people could easily access water.
The Stone Age saw the rise of what makes us human, including the development of art in the form of dance and music, as well as the emergence of governance and religion. The world is constantly changing, and human beings have witnessed numerous new discoveries and inventions, from the use of tools to the exploration of Mars, the invention of the wheel to the development of spacecraft, and the discovery of fire to the understanding of water’s importance for survival. While much credit is given to those who have made recent contributions to human civilization, it is important to recognize the crucial role that the earliest inventions played in shaping the world we live in today.
The Palaeolithic age played a crucial role in the evolution of human civilization. The period, which lasted from 2 million to 12,000 years ago, was characterized by the use of stone, wood, and bone tools by early humans. These tools were used for various purposes, including hunting, food preparation, and crafting. The Palaeolithic age can be further divided into the Lower, Middle, and Upper Palaeolithic ages, each characterized by distinct technological and cultural developments. The Palaeolithic age also saw the emergence of nomadic lifestyles, as early humans moved from place to place in search of food. The discoveries and innovations made during this period laid the foundation for the advances that have shaped the world we know today.